USDA has cleared the state of Arizona to test a program aimed at limiting fraud and reducing illegal trafficking of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program electronic benefit (EBT) cards. The action gives Arizona’s Department of Economic Security a two-year period in which it can directly contact SNAP recipients who request a replacement EBT card more than twice in a 12-month period. Current rules stipulate that such contact be made no sooner than after four requests for a replacement card in a 12-month period. “We want to make sure that people are getting the nutrition they need, but we also must maintain the integrity of the SNAP program for the benefit of recipients and for the protection of the taxpayers,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “As is the case with this Arizona waiver, USDA will consider state flexibilities where the goals are to help people transition into self-sufficient lives, to improve customer service, or to stop fraud and abuse.” Arizona will collect data and report to USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service through November 2019 to show what effect the lower replacement card threshold has on potential misuse of program benefits.
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